Rafi Amit is the founder and CEO of FunFunding, based in Tel Aviv, Israel. FunFunding's mission is to make doing good a part of everybody's day by connecting individuals and nonprofits using online games.
This article is based on an interview with Kathryn Engelhardt-Cronk, CEO of MissionBox.
Why Online Games for Social Change?
The game industry is a large and growing industry, with over two billion people playing games. Our mission is to work within this industry for a positive social impact, to use this attention to make good things happen. We do it in different ways:
One is through our competitions. We run competitions between teams. Each team represents a charity. At the end of our online tournaments, we give donations to the winning charities. Another way we do it is by promoting positive or inspirational quotes throughout our games so people can be exposed to engaging, uplifting cause-related content. Usually, players are just exposed to advertisements and that's a lost opportunity to empower and enlighten about needed social change.
I’ve been working FunFunding for a long time. It’s a combination of three things that drive me and that I enjoy. One is games. I was an athlete, and I have played different games since I was a child. It’s always something I like to be around. Second is doing good. I feel like it’s something that always drives me. I look at how we can make people happy. Because when I see people happy it makes me feel good. The third thing is to work on a large-scale project. I feel like this has the potential to reach a very large audience in a very positive way.
What is the Fun Funding History?
FunFunding started 10 years ago. Since then, we’ve had a few different iterations. It was only after our third try, about a year ago, that we found the secret sauce. And this is where we’re at now.
Now we run this competition between different teams. This way, people can come together and not just play games, but actually feel good that they’re supporting something they really believe in or are learning about while playing. And the way we built the system makes it very easy to use and a fun experience for everyone involved, both the nonprofits and the users. Also, the technology is now more available, the technology of bringing games and making the adaptation that we want to do. They are also easily accessible on every phone or laptop.
A Technology Company that is Mission-Driven
I live among entrepreneurs and business people,. I have been offered many opportunities to start a company and to get involved in different projects. But I'm committed to FunFunding because we want to make doing good a part of everybody’s day. We do it by allowing them to play games and connect with and support the nonprofits of their choice.
The FunFunding Team Culture
I can say, in general, about any project or anything you want to do in life—a very big part of it is who you choose as your teammates. I’ve been around for 10 years, and it’s not always easy. You can confront some very big hurdles. You want to have the right people with the right motives. And more than anything, you want to have good communication and synergy within the team.J
The MissionBox/FunFunding Upcoming Tournament
This partnership, this tournament reaching thousands of nonprofits, represents an very exciting milestone and it’s something we’ve been working toward for quite a long time.
The tournament begins at 9:00 AM CT on November 11th 2020. We are offering charities the opportunity to win, through the playing of their supporter teams, $10,000 in prizes. This is the biggest prize that we’ve offered, thus far.
We invite NGOs, nonprofits and charities from all over the world to sign up and join. It’s as simple as a nonprofit signing up and then sharing the word with their donors, volunteers, staff, service recipients, friends and supporters, as easily as sharing a website link. They can invite whomever they want to come and ask them to play to build cumulative points, so that the nonprofit has a chance to win cash prizes. The tournament will close on November 18th 2020 at 5:00 PM CT and then the registered, qualified charity with the highest number of combined team player points will win.
On top of the prizes, there is something really just as important that the tournament will accomplish, which is the connection between charities and individuals who are on their team. The video-gamer engagement with their chosen charity's cause runs deep and is lasting.
How Can Online or Video Tournaments Increase Financial Support for Nonprofits?
My observation is that when nonprofits or charities reach out to ask for a contribution from me or the people around me, it’s not always the smoothest interaction. Sometimes, I feel a bit emotionally manipulated and while I may give once, out of a sense of obligation, I probably won't give again. Making a donation, alone, does not provide a connection with the nonprofit and its mission that is strong enough to withstand the test of time. And, I am too often bombarded by requests for money from many different charities. It's hard to keep track.
I believe that we can change this by connecting people to nonprofits in a positive and fun way. And when people have this connection, they will be willing to donate more money later. In other words the sense of engagement and advocacy comes first and what follows is commitment, whether it’s financial or resources.
This makes sense because it is the way we operate in our personal lives. There’s an obvious difference between a friend asking you for money or time versus a stranger asking for the same. It doesn’t matter if it’s money or help. First we want to create this connection between the nonprofit and the players on the charity team, bring them together as one unit with a strong sense of camaraderie. Win or lose this tournament, we have found that the players have made an emotional connection with their nonprofit, met and played with staff, volunteers and perhaps even service recipients and they feel a part of the team going forward.
Later on, when these same players are approached for donations and support, the contributions will feel like giving money to a friend rather than a stranger. Big difference.
We've seen participating charities garner an increase in the overall conversion rates, in terms of how many people donate to their specific charity. Because this is a positive experience we’re taking the players through. They’re playing games as part of the team for this organization, without any commitment, without any obligation other than that they WANT to help "their" cause.
We all want to do good. Let’s make it a happier, more positive, more lasting interaction. And, for the player who simply cannot afford to give, they can still feel part of the greater good, still feel good through being a supportive, video game team player. Everyone wins!
On MissionBox, in each article and on the landing page, you can sign up for the tournament. Nonprofits can sign up and then gather their teams. Individuals interested in a particular cause can sign up and become part of a team, too. Register to play and have fun, support a cause you care about and win a chance at $10,000.